was "business as usual" when the Hawaii Superferry's Alakai
departed Oahu for Maui at 6:30 a.m. Thursday in its long-awaited
relaunch of service.
"I'm on the ship
right now and we are heading to Maui," Hawaii Superferry
spokeswoman Lori Abe told TravelWeekly.com during a telephone
interview from on aboard the ferry. "Everything is going
published reports, about 100 protestors turned out in Maui; the
protests were peaceful and no arrests were made.
Originally, the inter-island ferry was
slated to resume service on Dec. 1. However, Maui's Kahului Harbor
suffered minor damage during a recent storm swell. The relaunch
date was pushed back to Dec. 6, but repairs to the harbor took
longer than expect.
ferry service, capable of carrying more than 800 passengers and 300
vehicles, originally launched on Aug. 29, about the same time
Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled an environmental study would have to
be conducted before it could begin operating.
The ruling spurred
environmental groups, long critical of the service, to stage
protests and file lawsuits against the ferry, which soon suspended
The court later
imposed an injunction against the ferry, mandating that it remain
docked until after the state completed an environmental
government, however, contended mandating such a study was unusual
since it was not required of other modes of
A special session
of Hawaii's legislature went on to pass legislation signed into law
by the state's governor, Linda Lingle, that permits Hawaii
Superferry to resume service while the environmental study is
conducted by the state.
The law also
compels Hawaii Superferry to adhere to certain operating conditions
designed to minimize its impact on the environment and particularly
the humpback whales that inhabit the waters around the
The court then
lifted the injunction, which allowed Hawaii Superferry to resume
Now with the
controversial, legal challenges and environmental protest behind
it, Hawaii Superferry is finally sailing again.
Said Abe: "It is
business as usual today."
reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].